In the summer of 1997, I met the California-based sculptor Diana Pumpelly Bates, who would become my mentor and a guiding force in the direction of my art. Our meeting was providential as I would soon go through a time of artistic freefall after a distressing experience in an undergraduate art history class. The long and short is that the art history professor chose to skip over the “Black Presence in American Art” section in our assigned text. It was Diana who took it upon herself to teach me everything she knew about the Harlem Renaissance. Diana had had the rare privilege spending time, when she was a young artist, with one of the giants of the Harlem Renaissance, Romare Bearden. From the outset, I found his work inspirational.Bearden’s ability to cut, paste and layer histories and cultures on top of one another left an indelible mark on my practice.
Artist Audio Statement